Where talking writing processes again today, this time with Shellie Neumeier. We’ve met Shellie before when we interviewed her during the release of her book, Driven. Now, she’s talking about how those books of hers get written, and I enjoyed her feedback about crit groups. Read on!
Do you tend to write nonfiction or fiction?
Fiction, young adult and mid-grade, all though I do have a contemporary romance novella collection out (wow, say that three times fast), co-written with Lisa Lickel.
How long does it take you to finish a book?
A typical YA novel takes me about a month to write and another one to three to edit. The mid-grades are about half that due to their smaller size.
What’s your usual approach? Seat of your pants? Outline?
I have a stringent outline that I follow along with a scene by scene sketch I complete before I sit down to write. That’s not to say the story doesn’t take on a life of its own. That’s why I outline in pencil…so I can rewrite the scenes that the book wants changed.
How many rough drafts do you usually go through before you’re satisfied with the final version?
Oooh, too many to count. If I had to say though, I would estimate somewhere between a half-dozen to a dozen rough drafts. The real cue that I’m done is an overwhelming sense that if I read the book again, I’d fuss like a two-year-old not getting their way. That’s when I know I’m either done or in sore need of fresh critique.
Do you have someone you give your manuscript to for feedback before you give it to an editor or agent?
I have one crit group that specializes in YA/MG novels and two crit partners that are wonderfully honest. At least part of the MS, if not all of it, has to go through each of them before it goes anywhere else.
Sometimes writers get so close to a piece that they aren’t good at judging what needs to stay and what should be edited out. How do you get perspective when this happens?
I rely on my critique partners to help me find those spots. I also let my husband and kids (where appropriate) read sections that I’m not sure about. There’s nothing like an honest 10-year-old opinion.
The Wishing Ring, a tween fantasy novella, just released 2/3/2012. With that comes the marketing piece. It eats up a lot of my time, but when I get to write again, I’m hoping to work on a few older pieces that need tweaking and one new one that is rattling around a bit.
Where can we catch up with you online?